Saskatchewan Rattlers edge Edmonton Stingers 86-85 for second straight win

CEBL/Submitted. Saskatchewan Rattlers forward Marquis Collins defends against an Edmonton Stingers ball carrier during CEBL action on Thursday.

Josh Kozelj


Michael Nuga knocked down a pair of free throws in target score time to give the Saskatchewan Rattlers (6-9) their second straight win and first in a home-and-home series against the Edmonton Stingers (7-9) on Thursday night.

Two days after sinking a game-winning three pointer in Winnipeg, Wright-Foreman led all scorers with 37 points—which ties the Rattlers single-game franchise record, previously set by Wright-Foreman on June 29 against the BlackJacks earlier this season.

The Queen’s, New York guard also snagged 5 rebounds and shot 56 per cent from the field. But he also had seven turnovers on the night and credited his teammates for the victory.

“Shout out to my teammates, I didn’t have the greatest game today, I must admit,” Wright-Foreman said after the game. “Shout out to everyone for hitting shots and making big-time plays on defence.”

After two Nick Hornsby free throws pulled Edmonton ahead of Saskatchewan by one point in target score—and one point away from victory—Wright-Foreman missed a game-winning three point attempt.

However, a Hornsby turnover gave the Rattlers a shot at redemption. On the next possession, with most of the attention on Wright-Foreman, he dribbled at the top of the three point line before dishing to an open Jermel Kennedy in the corner.

Kennedy missed the three, but Nuga crashed the offensive glass and was fouled—paving the way for Saskatchewan to escape Edmonton with a win and add fuel to their late-season playoff push.

“I had an opportunity to make two free throws and the whole time my teammates were telling me to bury the two and that’s what I did,” Nuga said. “We didn’t wanna go and play another defensive possession.”

The game was a little sloppy from the opening tip.

Both Edmonton and Saskatchewan struggled with turnovers, recording four and six in the opening frame.

Edmonton recorded 16 total turnovers on the night, while Saskatchewan gave the ball away 19 times in the victory.

“When you turn the ball over 19 times that’s never good,” Rattlers interim head coach Tanner Massey said. “But when you win that means you shot the ball well.”

Saskatchewan shot over 46 per cent from the field and 36 per cent from beyond the arch. Edmonton countered with a 43 per cent field goal percentage and shot 28 per cent from deep.

Edmonton’s Nick Hornsby had a 21-point, 12 rebound double-double in a losing effort. He credited his performance to his motor after the game.

“My teammates always encourage me to go so I did,” Hornsby said. “I just try to compete and do everything I can for the team.”

Hornsby hauled in six of those rebounds in the first quarter, and Edmonton went on a 6-2 run to take a 20-15 lead after one. Four of the points in that run were scored by Isiah Osborne, who finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds on 50 per cent shooting from the field.

The two teams then traded blows in the second quarter.

Kennedy began the frame by draining a contested three pointer right in front of the Stingers bench. Quenton Decosey then knocked down a three, and Wright-Foreman followed up with a step back three to cap off a 9-0 run.

The Stingers responded with an 8-0 run of their own out of a timeout, which ended with an acrobatic Wright-Foreman jumper at the elbow that resulted in an and-one. Edmonton held the lead and took a nine-point advantage heading into the break.

In the third, the Rattlers turned the ball over five times in the first three minutes as Edmonton tried to pull ahead. Osborne scored seven points in the frame, but 11 third quarter points by Wright-Foreman allowed the Rattlers to hang around.

A four-point play in the fourth quarter by Trey Niemi gave the Rattlers their first lead since the second quarter. And six straight points by Wright-Foreman gave Saskatchewan a 77-73 lead heading into target score.

“He is the catalyst to everything we do,” Massey said. “He is our leader, and because he is confident in all of our guys, that is breeding confidence into everyone else.”

Brody Clarke, who finished with 14 points and 5 rebounds in his return from a one-game absence, fouled out in target score, as Wright-Foreman scored six points with the game clock turned off to power Saskatchewan to their sixth win of the season.

With the victory, the Rattlers moved to within one half game of the Stingers for third place in the western conference and two behind the second-place Calgary Surge.

Edmonton, meanwhile, will finish the regular season with four straight road games—beginning with a rematch with the Rattlers on Saturday at the SaskTel Centre.